The health of a relationship is not an all or nothing state. People often think that if they see a counsellor, it’s an admission that their relationship is totally unwell and a personal sign of failure to get help. People fear the counsellor judging them or allowing a lot of complaining and blaming in the therapy session—nothing could be further from the reality of couple counselling.
Just as you seek an accountant for your taxes, or a doctor for your health, seeing one of these experts does not mean that your entire life is completely unwell or failing. Everyone has sought experts for help in areas that he/she lacks specific skills to solve important problems. We seek experts for problems as we lack the tools to solve.
Too often people will endure the pain and discomfort of an unhappy relationship because they fear getting outside help. Research shows couples endure 6 years of declining relationship before seeking help and at this point it can be too late even for therapy to work.
Nowhere do we learn how to be effective in marriage. The relationship models we get come from our family of origin, culture and our own personal trial and mistake. The global divorce rate is 50% for 1st marriages and 70% for 2nd marriages. The outcome of marriages suggests that people can benefit from what a professional trained relationship counsellor can offer. Treatment earlier often requires less effort and results are faster, just like when you see a doctor soon for a medical problem rather than waiting too long and now the treatment is longer, more costly and painful.
Couple counselling is about building skills, not complaining, blaming or fault finding in the relationship—this doesn’t help anyone. Counselling helps couples to get to the root of the nonproductive conflicts and poor communication. It treats more than the symptoms of the relationship and helps to find and repair the root cause of the issues.
Professional counsellors assess patterns of communications, beliefs systems and behaviours in the relationship that may be ineffective for how the couple communicates and manages conflict. The counsellor then shares with the couple more effective skills that target the root cause.
Ultimately the counsellor is working on behalf of the couple’s relationship and helping them to achieve the goals and relationship they want. A counsellor isn’t going to repeat ineffective behaviours that the couple is already engaged in. Often couples find counselling to be very strength based with an emphasize on the positive.
If your relationship isn’t working and the things you’ve tried to fix aren’t helping, this is also painful. The question, a couple really needs to ask is: “Can this relationship get better without outside help continuing to use the means you are currently trying?” “Do you want to rely on time or hope to fix this marriage? Is ‘hope’ enough to save this marriage?” If the answers are no, consider speaking to us about how we can help you get skills to improve your relationship.
Call us to find out more or visit our website and read the many articles we have on counselling.